Virginia Broitman and Sherri Lippman, top clicker trainers and producers of the popular Bow Wow series of clicker training videos, sent us these provocative photos. Hmm. How did you manage this, ladies? Sherri answers:
There's now a national agility organization and competition for cats. The cats learn to run across obstacles around the house, sometimes for clicks and treats but more often for clicks and chasing a feather lure or some other toy through the course. Cats love it and take well to running new courses in new places. The courses are set up inside an area fenced with special wire net panels that cats can't climb, so there's no risk of contestants going AWOL. The first major competition was won by an eight month old Himalayan kitten (a long-haired breed you'd expect to be a couch potato, but not this one.)
Young active kittens and cats confined to a house with older cats are inevitably going to want to roughhouse and playchase those older cats. And the older cats, politely, are unlikely to respond aversively. Besides, fighting back might be fun for the kitten; keeping a low profile is probably a safer strategy.
Trying to desensitize and tame a hissing, feral cat, whether kitten or adult, can be a slow business. You can speed it up immensely with the clicker. Use a highly-preferred treat, such as canned tuna or any freeze-dried fish cat treat. Approach the cage, let the cat retreat, put a pea-sized treat in the front of the cage, click, and instantly back away.
Steve Dale is one of the country's leading pet journalists. He is host of the Pet Central program on WGN Radio, owned by the Chicago Tribune, the host of Animal Planet Radio, and a correspondent and columnist for Dog World and USA Weekend. His syndicated columns and programs appear in over 100 newspapers and on 80 radio stations. Steve probably reaches more homes, directly, than any other journalist in the pet field. In addition he is active in an enormous range of pet-related civic endeavors.